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E-ARK Partners


Our Story: The DLM Forum

The DLM Forum was the initiator of the E-ARK project. It all started at a DLM event in Budapest where there was a panel discussion and a member of the audience asked the question ‘should archives harmonise what they do?’.  

Initially someone from the panel responded that every archive and the country they belong to, would have different traditions, different government expectations etc but someone stood up and pointed out that actually, despite all this, everyone does essentially do the same and needs to do the same. 

This was when the opportunity arose for the community to build something together. The DLM had excellent experts but it didn’t have the strength in organisation….. 

At this point Portsmouth University joined bringing Janet Delve, David Anderson, Clive Billeness and Andrew Wilson on board. 

The DLM was established in 2004 by the EC and its original purpose was to bring together different stakeholders to discuss how to preserve digital information for the long term future. This digital information had been created by governments and vendors alike. It needed to go to the archives and so all the stakeholders needed to come together to bring the data together. 

There was a need for harmonised solutions that could be used by all EU member states and possibly beyond. 

The results far exceed the original expectations! 

The most important part is the specification for the Submission Information Package (SIP). This is at the centre of all the activity. If a record creator can submit standardised information to the archives then this is key to the whole process. 

Paper archives need a lot of physical space, especially as modern democracy creates more and more paperwork! In the 20 th Century archivists developed a methodology about how to reduce the physical stock however in the digital world there is unlimited storage (and the prices of storage keep going down) but there is still the need to manage the diversity. There are different structures which multiplies the issues faced. For example, it is very important for archives to get their content standardised so therefore the SIP is the most important part. 

This whole process also created a lot of software tools. The pilots were using the tools and they were working but these tools also needed to work in a ‘real’ environment. Partners such as KEEP, AIT, ESS, were all behind the push to make these tools functional in real life environments. The integrated platform is very promising and the AIT system exceeds expectations and existing solutions. 

From the perspective of the Chair of the DLM, the community has proved that they can work together to come up with tangible products; real products, created together, for the community. 

The very existence of the DLM has been justified by the creation and success of the E-ARK project.

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